I’m excited to share this week’s interview from Gemma at Mutha.hood with you. Gemma is someone I’ve followed for a while now and I have a fair few of her products! I love how she doesn’t sugar coat the ups and downs of life as a working-from-home mum or parenthood in general and she offers a brilliant mix of humour and emotion. She’s also got the most expressive face I’ve ever seen!
Gemma creates ethically produced clothes and accessories that champion women and our strengths, always trying to do her bit to empower the women she influences. I think it’s incredibly valuable that instead of choosing just to display the picture perfect moments of her life, she details the highs and lows on her insta stories, helping to normalise every day motherhood. To me, by allowing us to see a little bit of her vulnerability Gemma goes a long way towards chipping away the ridiculous, damaging idea that mothers are perfect all the time. We aren’t, what we Are is perfectly good enough.
Although the most iconic Mutha.hood product is her Strong Girls Club clothing, my favourites are her Know Your Worth tshirts and her Fearless sweatshirts. On a personal level they remind me to keep on top of my self esteem and mental health, but I love how these will mean different things to different people depending on what they need.
as you might have guessed, I’m a huge fan. Have a read of her interview!
1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
My aim in life is to help women feel empowered. I do this by selling merch that I hope is emotive and powerful. I also spend my time raising my two Reds, sampling just a bit too many National Trust scones and over sharing my love of pom poms on Insta Stories.
2) If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?
Trust your instincts. Know your worth. They combine as one big message which is that your opinion is hugely valuable. You know your baby best, have the confidence to believe in yourself which in turn, I’d hope would allow all new mums to ease the pressure and expectations that we so often place on ourselves.
I would also highly recommend investing in a some epic lounge wear and remaining in it for the first four weeks.
3) All of us parent differently and have different values. What is your most important parenting value?
To raise happy and confident girls who know that they’re loved and safe.
4) what motto do you try and live by?
What’s the worst that can happen. I’m a sucker for stress. I’m habitually late since having The Reds and I can find myself frequently reaching the pitch of a dolphin. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen. We miss the train, we miss the swimming lesson, we’ve got one glove instead of two. I want them to see the appropriate stress level for the actual consequence, rather than learn that panic is all the rage.
5) What are your hopes for your daughters?
I want them to believe that they’re capable of doing whatever it is that they want to do.
6) why is it important to you that your clothing is ethically produced?
I used to work in broadcasting as a Researcher and in Fashion Buying. I’ve seen what the use of pesticides can do to the environment and those nearby, I’ve also seen what poor working conditions can be like. In order for things to change it’s best practice to support those who are providing better standards. I may only be a small cog in the wheel of fashion, but I’m a cog nonetheless so I have a responsibility to support good working practices. I also love being able to support local trade and craftsmanship which is why I so often talk about working with UK based businesses.
7) One of your slogans is ‘Mother Like No One’s Judging’ and it happens to be one of my favourites – I have it on the pouch! Why do you think the world feels it’s their place to judge mothers?
It’s actually astounding. As soon as you have a baby you’re bombarded with opinions. Everyone has their view on what’s the best decisions for your baby. It’s important to know that it’s an opinion. It’s often not fact, it’s come from their experience and yours may well be different. Your children are different to start with. I often don’t think that they’re meaning ill, that it comes from a place of concern and support. Ultimately none of us actually know what we’re doing. You can buy a hundred books on how to raise a baby, but there’s no one manual fits all. The aim of the slogan is to encourage women to stay confident, to stay strong in their beliefs. You will face what sounds like criticism almost daily, but it’s about smiling, thanking them for their thoughts and then getting on with what you think is right. As opposed to taking that conversation home, doubting yourself to the core which in turn leaves you not trusting your instincts, second guessing yourself and possibly landing in a spiral of anxiety that you’re not good enough.
8) You are raising two daughters in a world where women are still hurt, belittled and undervalued. Do you worry about the world they’re inheriting?
I’m a very lucky person. I was raised by my Mum. It’s only as I raise my own girls and connect with more women through the message of Mutha.Hood that I realise what an incredible force my Mum is and was during my youth. My Dad left when I was 4, the woman raised me, she got on with life, she worked in the city, marched on with her briefcase, wallpapered my bedroom in the much loved Care Bear pattern, drilled shelves into the walls, cuddled me when I was sad and has always been my MamaBear when things have gone wrong. She was my Mum, my Dad, my Mouse Trap playing boardgame buddy. She succeeded in every role, I’ve never not believed I’m capable because I’ve watched her just crack on with things.
I want to ensure my girls feel the same. I want them to have the confidence in themselves to question everything and to know they’re worth something.
9) Every one of your products screams that you believe in the strength of women. What do you think it is that makes us so powerful when we realise our worth and shout from the rooftops about the brilliance of our fellow women?
Self belief is everything. If you know your worth you will speak up and make sure you’re not taken for granted. If you believe that you are accountable for your own life choices, you make confident ones. If you believe in yourself you won’t compete with other women and you’ll raise them with you. Life doesn’t happen to you, you are an active participant, do what makes you happy.
10) Parenting is tough and beautiful all at the same time. Can you tell us about a tough time and a shining moment that you’ve had as a parent?
The toughest time for me was just after Big Red was born. I wasn’t emotionally or mentally prepared for it. I hit a spiral of self doubt and never lived in the moment. I spent my time panicking about the next one. I wonder if this was in part down to a long run of undiagnosed reflux. Nothing makes you feel quite as inadequate as a new mum than never being able to comfort your baby.
My shining moment has been recently. I have just exited PTSD treatment from the birth of Little Red and I finally feel here, present and with my girls. We take things easy, there’s less pressure, there’s fish finger night and there’s hugs on the sofa in front of the fire with How to Train your Dragon playing for the 12th time. I’m less worried about what I ‘should’ be doing with my girls and I’m just being with my girls.
Isn’t she wonderful? It’s incredibly valuable to hear other women’s experiences of mental health issues, especially those that have made it out the other side like Gemma has with her PTSD. For me, seeing that there are women that have conquered their demons gives me the strength to continue fighting mine, so I’m grateful to hear about these journeys.
Follow Gemma here –
Instagram – Mutha.hood
Website – Mutha.hood goods
Facebook – Mutha.hood